The first thing Lisa does when she wakes up in the morning is check her Facebook, Twitter, on-line mommy chat room, and email accounts. She checks them all again when her little one goes down for his morning nap. Later that afternoon, Lisa again makes the rounds on all her social media networking groups and posts to her blog. As soon as the last lullaby is sung and bedtime prayers are issued later that evening, Lisa is back in front of the computer chatting it up with her "tweeps" and updating her Facebook status. Despite the fact that Lisa has spent her entire day at home with a small child, she has interacted with a significant amount of people. Such interaction has taken place via the Internet and social media networking sites.
With a connection to the outside world found through on-line communities, many stay-at-home mothers are not experiencing the feelings of isolation like mothers have felt in the past. When a stay-at-home mom (SAHM) has a question about teething she can chat with other members of her birth club about possible soothing techniques for irritated gums. When the SAHM feels a bit lonely during a long day at home with a sick baby, she can take a few minutes to instant message a friend who lives hundreds of miles away. When a mom feels terribly overwhelmed by motherhood in general, she can send out a tweet that lets off some steam and instantly hear a bit of encouraging feedback from others in the same boat.
The Internet has many positive things to offer the stay-at-home mom. Yet some are wondering if today's mommies are becoming too involved in the on-line world. CNN posted an article discussing the notion that many moms could be suffering for an Internet addiction, suggesting that the need to update Facebook and check one's Twitter account several times a day could possibly be classified as a mental disorder in the future. Although associating "mental disorder" with the desire to be involved with the on-line world can seem extreme, it is feasible to say that many mothers are letting on-line social media networking consume too much of their day.
Before running out to find a therapist dealing with Internet addiction, take a few steps to ensure that time spent on-line is controlled and efficient.
- Establish boundaries....and stick to them. Carve out time on the computer into the daily schedule and stick to those slotted times. Being plugged into an on-line community is not an evil effect of modern technology. However, being so plugged in that one neglects the important tasks of her life could be detrimental to the person and the members of her family. Allot time in the day to hop on the computer and then stick to those specific times.
- Be present when others are around. It may be fun to chat with an on-line friend after a long day of parenting, but it is even more fun (and necessary to the maintenance of a marriage) to chat with one's spouse at the end of the day. Take steps to prevent on-line relationships from taking over the chance to interact with others who are sitting nearby in real life.
- Go through detox on occasion. Amazingly the world will keep rotating if one forgets to update their Facebook status for a week and the global economy will not crumble if a blog is neglected for a few days. Routinely take time to detox from social media. Plan a week to simply leave the computer off. Sure, there are some emails that may be missed and one might not know what is going on with all their Facebook friends. Detoxing from social media for a few days allows balance and symmetry.